NACNW Substation raises controversy

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 20, No. 20            May 20, 2010

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    Press Release – North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (NACNW) – May 18, 2010 -As in the tale of the French Legionnaires “Stone Soup” the North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch has made something out of next to nothing. Businesses, resorts and private home owners came together donating almost all of the materials and all of the labor to build a police sub-station in the Tres Cocos area.

    Monday, May 17th found a talented bunch of workmen, busy in the rain, constructing an 8 x 12’ wooden container that can, if necessary, be taken apart and moved. Once again the generous San Pedro businesses gave abundantly of their wares.

    Castillo’s Hardware donated all off the T1-ll for the siding, Harmouch Hardware provided the zinc for the roofing and everything that was needed for the electrical. Varelas Lumber Co. made the door, Mayan Secrets gave the flooring, and the screws, nuts, bolts and washers came from Bridge Hardware and SP Hardware. Security cameras came from Wet Willy’s and the Palapa Bar served everyone excellent Belizean fare; stew chicken, rice and beans and coleslaw.

    The only things that had to be purchased were the 2 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s and the aluminum louvered windows, but these were sold at cost from Varela’s.

    Thanks go to officers of NACNW who put it all together and spent the day overseeing the project: President Scott Harnish, Vice President Pat Stiley, Financial Manager Cullen Walker, Internet Secretary Harriette Fisher, Steve Spiro, who is the Liaisons Officer to the other Island Neighborhood Watches, and the building designer Taylor LeClaire.

    AJI’s Restaurant, Jim Zykan and Keith Newton each sent a worker. El Pescador provided four men, and the following had two each; Capicorn, Palapa Bar, Pat Stiley and Harriette Fisher. A great big thank you goes out to Alex Gongora, Alex Moro, Byron Rodrigues, Carlos Campos, Dennis “Fred” Fernando, Eulogio “Chino” Lofy, Hector Hernandez, Jerry Reyes, John Saki, Juan Gomez, Juan Guerra, Kenrick Figueroa, Martin Martinez, Oliver Hernandez, Raul Verela, Robert Yacab and Robert Zeleye. Mid morning a representative from the building department arrived and said that they had received a complaint that a building permit had not been obtained. Mr. Pat Stiley handled the matter in a very professional manner and advised him of the steps the group had taken to get to this point: The Mayoress had done a walk through with NACNW President Scott Harnish and agreed on the location. Officer in Charge Dennis Arnold and his officers assigned to the north, all supported the building and its placement.

    Only two of the residents of the Tres Cocos area had voiced objections and one favors a private security business for his immediate area. Many obstacles were placed in the way of the police sub-station but NACNW members persisted.

    Later in the day a building inspector arrived with a Stop Work Order. Work was stopped (the police station was being built on private land and assembled on bricks on the unused easement).

    The police station stands unfinished, and will remain so unless permission is granted to proceed. The volunteers, discouraged, returned to their homes. No one knows whether such a group can be reconvened to finish, destroy or move the structure.

    The next morning Mr. Stiley took copies of the building plan and met with the Mayoress and Mr. Panton but found they said they had no recollection that the site had ever been reviewed or discussed.

NACNW has taken the stance that they followed the same path as SACNW.

1. The station is not anchored to the ground.
2. It can be dismantled and moved if necessary.
3. There is no plumbing or electrical connection to the grid.
4. It is placed on a previously unused easement.
5. It is critically placed to monitor the main road, back road and beach.
6. It was built for the Belize Police Department and is therefore government property.

The people north of the bridge are dedicated to continue to fight crime and corruption.
br Editor’s Note: In following up with the story that developed after building started, The San Pedro Sun spoke to Mr. Winston Panton, acting chairman of the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority(ACLBA). Mr. Panton stated that while the stop order had to be issued, the ACLBA is in no way trying to hinder the progress of the NACNW. “We are simply making sure that all the T’s have been crossed and the I’s have been dotted. We are aware of the need for a substation in the area, and we ask that the NACNW cooperate in the permitting process. We will do everything in our power to expedite the permit.”
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